199. Editorial Note

Following a breakfast meeting with the President on April 22, 1964, Director of Central Intelligence McCone told McGeorge Bundy, according to McCone’s memorandum for the record, that “I was highly dissatisfied over the fact that President Johnson did not get direct intelligence briefings from me as was the custom with President Kennedy and had been the Eisenhower custom in the prior administration. Bundy recognized this and thought that I should discuss it directly with the President.” (Memorandum for the Record by McCone, April 27; Central Intelligence Agency, DCI (McCone) Files, Job 80–B01285A, DCI Meetings with the President)

McCone met with the President on April 29 and told him “that I was concerned that the President was not getting sufficient and adequate intelligence briefings; that I was not seeing very much of him, and this disturbed me. He said he was available any time that I wanted to see him. All I had to do was call up. I said this had not been the case on several ‘attempts.’ He mentioned that he had been very busy the last two weeks but he did not think this would be a recurring situation, therefore he invited me to bring to his attention any matters of special and particular interest; however he did not wish to be briefed just for the purpose of being briefed. He said that the Checklist summary was perfectly adequate, that he went over it carefully, and that it gave him a satisfactory feeling of the world situation.” (Memorandum for the Record by McCone, April 30; Johnson Library, John McCone Memoranda of Meetings with the President)

In a May 1 memorandum to the President, Bundy remarked that he and Clark Clifford “had agreed on the ideal method of keeping John McCone really happy about the level of his contact with you: Golf. McCone is an energetic and agreeable golfer.” (Ibid., National Security [Page 441] File, Memos to the President-McGeorge Bundy, Vol. 4) Three weeks later, on May 24, Johnson played eight holes with McCone at Burning Tree Club, but they did not play again prior to McCone’s resignation on April 28, 1965. (Ibid., President’s Daily Diary)

While meeting with the President on July 24, McCone asked him “if he was receiving satisfactory intelligence reports and he said, yes he was very satisfied. I said I would like the opportunity to sit down with him occasionally to exchange views on matters of importance to him, that he had in the CIA the most competent group of intelligence experts and analysts that existed anywhere in the world and that he was not getting the full benefit of their views and judgments through the written word. I said that any time that his calendar would permit and he was so disposed, I would like to discuss personally with him any problems of interest to him which were within our competence.” (Memorandum for the Record by McCone, July 24; Central Intelligence Agency, DCI (McCone) Files, Job 80–B01285A, DCI Meetings with the President)